Researchers knew that prions, the misfolded proteins that cause mad cow disease and other brain disorders, were killing off a class of important brain cells in a transgenic mouse model. But when they found a way to rescue those cells, they were astonished to discover the mice still became sick.
Now they believe previous efforts to find the beginnings of the mouse disorder may have been focused on the wrong part of the brain cell and are plotting new directions for research.
In a study that appears in the Jan. 1 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists report evidence that clinical symptoms in the mice are produced by damage to synapses, the areas where nerve cell branches come together for communication. "This could have important therapeutic implications," says senior author David Harris, M.D, Ph.D, professor of cell biology and physiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "There’s a great deal of effort being put into developing treatments for neurodegenerative disorders that would inhibit neuron death. Our results suggest that if we just prevent cell death without doing something to maintain the functionality of the synapse, patients may still get sick."
Michael C. Purdy | EurekAlert!
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Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...
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22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy